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Two Profiler Tips

I’ve had occasion to watch a lot of people try Profiler, and to hear a lot more about their previous attempts to use it, and they are almost always incredibly frustrated. Why? Simply, the volume of activity combined with the hyper speed scroll just seems overwhelming. People expect tools to make sense in their default configuration and after a couple minutes of mad screen scroll tend to throw up their hands and think “I can’t handle this”. It’s a natural reaction. For those of you who (most of you perhaps) who’ve moved past that point it’s easy to forget what it’s like in the beginning. Thus, the two tips for today!

Tip number one is to reduce the volume by removing events. When you open Profiler and get ready to start, before you hit ‘go’ switch to the Event Selection tab and uncheck the events noted below. You may need them at some point, but for right now you want to get down to just the ‘completed’ events. This will reduce the volume you have to scan by more than 50%.


Tip number two is to turn off the auto scroll behavior. Just because you’re capturing a hundred lines per second doesn’t mean you have to analyze it at that rate. Stop the auto scroll, then you can scroll leisurely and start to take in what matters, and from there you might progress to filters and other support events. As far as I know there is no way to persist the setting, you have to click it each time.


Once you get past the initial shock Profiler is fairly easy to use, and a huge help in solving all kinds of problems. Hopefully these two tips help you get there!


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Steve Jones on 27 January 2011

The flipside of disabling auto scroll is that some people wonder if anything's happening. Need to make sure they know to scroll down to find the last thing that they ran.

Posted by ryan.adams on 31 January 2011

Andy that's a great tip on the auto scroll.  I somehow never noticed that option.  If I'm tracing something specific that I can recreate from the app, then I also tend use the pause feature right after I have reproduced the issue.  That tends to reduce the hunt and find.

Posted by Merrill Aldrich on 11 February 2011

Excellent tips. I always do exactly the same thing!

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